Ah, spring. The season with the most promise for new ideas and projects, a time for recommitting ourselves to our outdoor endeavors and making things fresh and new. It’s also a time for growing and improving. Sometimes that growing and improving involves a little bit of plant carnage.
I was fortunate to be off from work yesterday, not particularly because I didn’t have to work (which is nice, too), but because my day off actually corresponded with nice weather, which probably occurs about as often as Halley’s Comet. When this rarest of events occurs, I have a protocol in which I review my to-do list, taking into account activities which need to be done outdoors, then I have to evaluate those results based on which tasks could get out of hand the most quickly. In this case, my obvious priority was the trumpet vine.
The saga of the trumpet vine is a long one. Art and I will have been married 10 years this November, and before that he took care of his mother, who was ill, for several years. She had planted the trumpet vine during a time when she was active in doing things around the house, training it around a metal pole and gradually letting the early stems grow so robust that they were like small trees wrapped around each other. Unfortunately, even shortly before Art and I met, she was unable to keep it in check. Because of this, the trumpet vine, lovely but supremely invasive, had free rein over our house. It ran roughshod over our lawn, crept into the foundation, choked other plants, and generally wreaked substantial havoc in our little biosphere.
I am ashamed to say it (because I am not a murderous person), but I have plotted to kill the vine for several years. The only thing keeping me from doing so was the herculean effort that it was going to involve. Not only was there the vine-cum-tree to deal with, but also the myriad runners that were travelling through the ground day by day, cropping up in strange and faraway places. I knew it would be a multi-part process with lots of difficult chopping and digging. Because of this, my perfectionist brain routinely felt overwhelmed.
Something has changed in me this year, however. After a very trying early 2015, I have decided that nothing in life can really be all-or-nothing, and I woke up yesterday eager to start the process of dismantling the vine. After running a few errands in the morning, I took myself to the garage and armed myself for battle. Surprisingly, I completed “Phase 1″ (the elimination of the largest part of the vine) in only two hours. This supposedly epic task, which I had placed on hold (aside from routine maintenance) for nearly ten years, had taken me the same amount of time as a long afternoon nap.
As I stood back to admire my handiwork, a sense of calm came over me. I knew that the war was not yet won, and that there would be other days when I fought back the vine’s insurgents elsewhere in the yard, but I had won for the present. If I can continue to spend as much time doing as I do worrying and planning, I might make progress yet.